SAINT PAUL, Minn. -While Minnesota's winter landscape is currently barren and frozen,those behind the new Lowertown Ballpark Project released new design images Thursday thathave baseball fans dreaming of green infield grass and blue skies.

Designed by the Twin Cities-based design-builder Ryan Companies' team of Ryan A&E, Julie Snow Architects, and AECOM, the new ballpark incorporates elements of Lowertown's historic architecture, includingblackened steel, timber, and load-bearing masonry. The playing field and entire seating bowl will be located below street level, reducing the overall visual impact of the ballpark on its neighbors while enhancing entry plaza connections and accessibility.

"I couldn't be more pleased with today's design. It complements Lowertown's natural beauty and brings in a new, important perspective," said Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. "The Lowertown Ballpark builds on the excitement that is growing in the neighborhood including the completion of the 6th Street sidewalk expansion project."

The updated designs were created with input and feedback from the Lowertown Ballpark Design and Construction Committee (LBDCC). The majority of LBDCC members support the design. The design team has also been working with the State Historic Preservation Office on the ballpark's design and will submit more refined plans later this month.

"This project is about more than just designing a new ballpark; it's also about creating a new connection and gathering place for an important historic neighborhood," said Julie Snow, president of Julie Snow Architects, the project's design architect. "Not only will this be a great place for baseball, it will connect trails and new public space with the arts community in a building that is open, yet still feels like it is part of the community."

Demolition of the Diamond Products building will be completed Friday. Approximately 90% of the material from the Diamond Products building will be recycled, including more than 600 tons of steel and 55,000 tons of concrete.

Workers have also begun the process of remediating contaminated soil on the east side of the site. The next steps to prepare the site for construction include relocating utilities, such as the sanitary sewer and water main. After relocating the utilities, crews will begin grading the site. Site preparation work should be completed in three to four months, depending on the weather.

Actual Construction of the ballpark will begin in spring 2014. Opening day is on schedule for spring 2015.